Saturday, June 4, 2011
10x25 - Series B ***
After the middling record of Series A, I wasn't exactly bursting with enthusiasm to see the second evening of the Atlantic Theater's 25th Anniversary Festival of 10-Minute Plays. What a pleasant surprise it was. All eight plays were enjoyable and a couple of them were really quite good. Annie Baker's "Practice" led off the evening with an amusing but slight glimpse at a yoga class. "The New Paradigm" presents Keith Reddin's clever take on a meeting of Bush's minions discussing a memo justifying "enhanced interrogation." "The Naked Eye" by Jez Butterworth is a monologue affectionately recalling the night the family stayed up to watch Halley's Comet. Tina Howe's "Caution, This Bus Kneels. Stand Clear" puts assorted New Yorkers on a bus headed for Lincoln Center on a stormy night, with hilarious results. Craig Lucas' "The Sell" is a funny interchange between a prospective art buyer and a painter whose work tends toward brutalism. Edwin Sanchez's "Smiling" is a sketch about a man so eager to appear "with it" that his face freezes in a smile. Leslie Ayvazian's "There You Are" brings together two friends with a complicated past who have not seen each other in 30 years. Finally there is Bill Wrubel's "This Backstage Life," a very funny look at the chaos behind the scenes on opening night. The cast of 19 were all fine, Mary Beth Peil and Larry Bryggman especially so. Tania Balsam, Reed Birney, Kate Blumberg, Michael Chernus, Nick Choksi, John Early, David Fonteno, Rick Holmes, Zosia Mamet, Mary McCann, Rod McLachlan, Matthew Montelongo, Stephen Park, Susan Pourfar, Danielle Slavick, Joey Slotnick and Maria Tucci rounded out the cast. The evening's directors were Leslie Ayvazian, Annie Baker, Jaime Castaneda, Christian Parker, Neal Pepe and Todd Weeks. I hope Series C will be equally enjoyable.